A Point of View : BBC Radio 4 FM : August 12, 2016 08:50PM-09:00PM BST
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Will Self explores what is wrong with contemporary art.
🔗 Chomps pool becomes a stage playing host to thousands of performers from all over
🔗 the world.
🔗 Next week from there will also be in Edinburgh scouting for the most interesting
🔗 new talent alongside interviews with more familiar names including the king of
🔗 eight asked I'm a gallon and Philippa Gregory.
🔗 So join me because the lang for all special Edinburgh editions of front row next
🔗 Monday to Wednesday night at seven fifteen here on B.B.C. Radio four.
🔗 But now it's telling time to join Will Self with a point of view.
🔗 With demands
🔗 and the literary critic who was famous for a subtle discursive work untitled seven
🔗 types of ambiguity displayed no such ambiguity
🔗 when it came to contemporary art describing the catalogue essays which limbed its
🔗 cultural value as a steady iron hard jet of absolutely total nonsense.
🔗 Well I must declare an interest here a contemporary of the group of British artists
🔗 who came to prominence in the early one nine hundred ninety S.
🔗 Damien Hirst Tracey Emin and others.
🔗 I've been responsible for a fair amount of absolutely total nonsense in my time
🔗 they've asked me to write catalogue essays for them and I've uncoiled the hose
🔗 and turned on the tap.
🔗 I don't mean to suggest by this
🔗 that I believe all contemporary art to be complete rubbish
🔗 but a great deal of it on down to Lea is I remember attending a wreath lecture
🔗 given by Grayson Perry at which the celebrated Potter adjudged ninety percent of
🔗 contemporary art works to be rubbish and he should know what he's talking about.
🔗 I know why I've been prepared to indorse such overvalue tossed
🔗 and useless ephemera the more successful artists there dealers
🔗 and galleries just have more money than they know what to do with well rates for
🔗 jobbing writers decline year on year.
🔗 So some sort of we distribution did seem in order the total value of the.
🔗 Contemporary art market superseded that of all older works.
🔗 Sometime in the one nine hundred seventy S.
🔗 Presumably because at
🔗 that juncture certain extremely wealthy people most of whom had no is Thetic
🔗 sensibility whatsoever began using these artifacts as an investment vehicle.
🔗 Interestingly this momentous shift occurred at more
🔗 or less the same time as any war holes first major British retrospective at the old
🔗 Tate Gallery.
🔗 Interestingly because Warhols work for me exemplifies the culdesac the entire
🔗 western tradition of visual art has driven full speed into the basic ideas lying
🔗 behind walls work where neither new nor
🔗 that interesting as centrally they were responsive to what the critic Walter
🔗 Benjamin defined in a celebrated essay of the same name as the work of art in the
🔗 age of mechanical reproduction Warhols silk screen prints of celebrities
🔗 and his disposable sculptures made from detergent boxes have little to engage the
🔗 eye or involve the mind.
🔗 I once challenge an extremely famous our connoisseur to concede this point
🔗 that whereas he might well be prepared to sit for hours in order contemplation of
🔗 the last quizzes the toilet of Venus.
🔗 He'd probably be bored rigid after five minutes concentrating on war holes.
🔗 Marilyn dipped in.
🔗 Warhol did three things as an artist two of which had been done before
🔗 and done much better.
🔗 The first was to take ordinary things
🔗 and place them in a gallery space thereby subverting
🔗 or ironically commenting on the supposed uniqueness of the object are.
🔗 Unfortunately Marcel Duchamp it already done this.
🔗 DICK IN nine hundred seventeen by submitting a urine all intitled fountain for a
🔗 New York exhibition and he went on.
🔗 Produce numerous multiples copies all further reiterations of household objects
🔗 that became a lot simply because of the way they were exhibited or the value
🔗 that was attributed to them really the only artistic innovation Warhol was
🔗 responsible for consisted in the creation.
🔗 If it deserves the appellation of scenes involving a hat trick Genua smacks of
🔗 transgressing types junkies prostitutes transsexuals together with celebrities the
🔗 rich in the damned Warhols factory was ideology the prototypical form of the
🔗 contemporary art scene in which dealers
🔗 and galleries struggle to recreate the spirit of the apple God
🔗 and generate interest in absolutely total nonsense by surrounding it with the
🔗 supposedly interesting people.
🔗 The huge prices commanded by some contemporary art have completely reversed the old
🔗 canonical order. Instead of critics and academics and judging artistic value.
🔗 Money talks
🔗 and writes those study our knowledge in its major art galleries have also begun to
🔗 lose their curatorial authority as wealthy artists try
🔗 and buy posterity by donating their works.
🔗 The Super-Rich many of them Russian oligarchs
🔗 or other dubious figures buy art works by the name.
🔗 Ton and plaster them on the walls of their vulgar houses
🔗 or stash them in bank vaults.
🔗 At the height of this eye candy feeding frenzy before the financial crash of two
🔗 and seven eight The Ukrainian oligarch Victor pin choke flew entire plane loads of
🔗 no longer quite so Young British Artists over to his step land fastness where they
🔗 were royally entertained while he got out his check book it's become a commonplace
🔗 of contemporary architectural criticism.
🔗 To paraphrase that all flues is famous modern.
🔗 This dictum form follows function as Form follows finance
🔗 but really the same could be said of the visual arts.
🔗 After all if you can convince one rather stupid rich person
🔗 that your painting made by dripping paint onto a spinning disk is at once A
🔗 Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and a sound investment.
🔗 Then you can simply set up a production line that drips money. Ad in the night.
🔗 But why you might ask.
🔗 Doesn't anyone point out
🔗 that the emperor's clothes a tedious conceptually derivative lacking in either
🔗 artistry or true cost from a ship and criminally overpriced.
🔗 Why do so many of the formally great
🔗 and good remain silent about the inverse correlation between the price
🔗 and the value of contemporary art.
🔗 Well is precisely because in our postmodern times no commonly accepted static
🔗 criterion remains intact.
🔗 The people of all stripes so fear being shown up whispering in the back of their
🔗 minds is this subversive Mencia I don't know much about art
🔗 but I know what I like terrified of being branded a filler Stein despite the fact
🔗 that the entire contemporary art scene is philistinism incarnate what with its
🔗 alive flesh performances and dead meat installations.
🔗 They keep it zipped indeed to flee toddle along to time ticket entry shows where
🔗 they still have to queue for hours before craning their necks to examine this
🔗 or that priceless. Yet Vanny this object.
🔗 Of course in the age of mechanical reproduction.
🔗 that all works are manufactured under assembly line conditions using computer aided
🔗 design programs.
🔗 There's no need for the White Cube of the gallery to contain them a tool which is
🔗 why the major repositories of our burgeoning.
🔗 It'd have been repurposed as theme parks in which the masses can stroll about as
🔗 they think contemplation is being replaced by a short walk accompanied by some new
🔗 good tree in for time
🔗 and while in lieu of any transcendence all are required to Exit Through the Gift
🔗 Shop subtly insidiously visitor numbers have replaced artistic significance as a
🔗 criterion of success
🔗 and in contemporary Britain where democracy is a shibboleth on everyone's lips
🔗 popular appeal
🔗 and true merit of being conflated because nobody's opinion should be considered
🔗 superior to anyone else's.
🔗 But while in political
🔗 and economic systems equality may well be a deserter Artem in the artistic realm
🔗 it's a disaster.
🔗 The sum total of all those myriad I know what I likes adding up to an entire
🔗 society knowing nothing much about art.
🔗 I daresay you'd like me to propose a solution.
🔗 You may be even thinking it's a little rich of me to present such a swindling
🔗 critique when I've already admitted to siphoning off profits from
🔗 that steady Janet.
🔗 However I never said all contemporary art was absolutely total nonsense.
🔗 The a great deal of it.
🔗 Besides it's probably an impossible calculation to make
🔗 but I suspect there's simply a lot more and more to being made.
🔗 Nowadays than here to for more over the demand for these assembly line artifacts
🔗 and Jeep located daubs continues to grow.
🔗 Since no new urban development where the public private
🔗 or an unholy mixture of the two is complete without its signature work is this what
🔗 we want our visual art to be an all purpose all weather rained for property
🔗 developers interior decorations are overheated in claustrophobic city centers.
🔗 Well yes so it would seem because never before.